Jewish leader compares strict housing rules to Nazi Germany

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A housing association threatened to remove religious scrolls from a flat in Stamford Hill. Image: Wikipedia

An Orthodox Jewish community leader has compared a recent threat by a housing association, to take down religious scrolls from flats in Stamford Hill, to the acts of the Nazis.

A row broke out last week after Warwick Estates wrote to the residents of its Cedarwood Court properties warning them that mezuzah, traditional parchment scrolls hung on the doors of some Jewish households, were “against the terms of the lease and will be removed”.

Mayor Philip Glanville said the threat was “very insensitive and distressing for the residents involved”.

He tweeted his thanks to “everyone that raised this with me in the past 24 hours, those that complained and now to Warwick Estates for acting so swiftly to correct the situation,” after the association reversed its decision.

Now Levi Schapiro, director of the Jewish Community Council of North London (JCC), which claims to represent the Orthodox community, has told the Hackney Post: “This is a direct attack on our identity. These are the kinds of things that happened in Nazi Germany, where you weren’t allowed to be Jewish.”

Schapiro called the letter “open discrimination”.

In a statement on Monday, Warwick Estates apologised for the letter, saying: “The letter was overzealous in its nature and not in keeping with our business values.”

Emma Blaney, the associate director of the company, said: “The property manager in question and Warwick Estates are deeply sorry for any offence we have caused to the residents at the development and indeed the wider Jewish community.”

Schapiro added: “We don’t understand why he wrote a letter while many of the non-Jewish residents have their Christmas decorations up. Those are larger items, and this is a tiny scroll that doesn’t bother anyone.”

Schapiro claimed Glanville had been “very involved” in condemning Warwick Estates and calling for an apology.